Gu Family Book: Episode 15
Cute cute cute. As expected, Dad gets crazy with the new rules, which only drives the kiddos right into each other’s arms. Nothing like a forbidden romance to light a fire under your ass. Things get a little more complicated when Yeo-wool learns some harsh truths about her father, while Kang-chi discovers another power and gets put to the test at school.
SONG OF THE DAY
Lee Seung-gi – “That One Last Word” for the OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
We open on a young Yeo-wool, looking up at her father’s swords. She tries to pick one up, but it’s too big for her to move. Dad comes up behind her and hands her one, asking if it’s heavy.
Master Dam: “A sword is strength. But if you wield it wrongly and shed the blood of innocents, that weight can become heavier than anything you can carry.”
She asks if Dad has ever shed the blood of an innocent person, and we cut to Wol-ryung’s death by his sword, as he answers: “I have only once spilled the blood of an innocent.”
Back in the present, Yeo-wool runs from Wol-ryung in the mountains, as Kang-chi hears about his father’s return as a thousand-year demon. The monk tells him that he’s here to destroy everything that has to do with Seo-hwa, and well, her son is probably high up on his list, as well as everyone around him. So-jung pleads with Kang-chi to run away.
Wol-ryung catches up to Yeo-wool and lifts her chin up. She reaches for her sword, but he blocks her swiftly and tells her not to move. Kang-chi runs toward them (because he can hear her thoughts? Smell her?) and she can hear him as he gets close.
Wol-ryung introduces himself by name, and asks who she is. He’s all too happy to confirm that she’s Dam Pyung-joon’s daughter, and wonders how she knows Kang-chi, only saying that he once knew Kang-chi’s father—whom her father killed.
Her jaw drops at the news, and he’s just, Oh, you didn’t know? like he didn’t come here just to tell her that. Evil! He leans in close to ask if Kang-chi doesn’t know either. Why, are you going to visit him next and be the Backstory Killjoy over there too?
She uses the moment to spring up and point her sword at his throat, which only makes him smile in amusement. He warns her that she’ll never defeat him like that, and when she swings, he grabs her wrist and spins her around like he’s about to dip her in a dance… except now the sword is at her own throat. Whoops.
Finally she lets out a scream that Kang-chi can hear, and he goes dashing through the woods. When he finds her she’s alone, crumpled on the ground in shock and on the verge of tears.
He asks what happened, but she just bursts into tears and throws her arms around him, sobbing into his shoulder. He just hugs her and sheds a tear, as she cries and cries.
That night, Jo Gwan-woong mulls over the plans for the turtle ship that Tae-seo brought to him earlier, wondering if he’s really telling them the truth and not just feeding them false information. He tells his minion that there is one way to be sure.
In the woods, Kang-chi wraps Yeo-wool’s ankle so she can walk back home, and asks what she saw that spooked her so badly. She doesn’t tell him about Wol-ryung, which seems like a bad idea.
He chides her for going into the woods alone when she’s a girl, and he notably keeps saying “woman” over and over again, so she prods, “Do you see me as a woman now?” He answers as if it would be ridiculous for him to do otherwise, like he wasn’t even around for the past fourteen episodes.
That leads to awkward glances at anything but each other, but they each betray a tiny grin. Adorable.
He puts his hand out to help her up, and then yanks her up so fast that she lands in his arms, within kissing distance. They just stand there, holding hands and blinking at each other, trying not to think about lips. Kiss her! Kiss her, you fool!
It looks like it takes all his brainpower NOT to kiss her, and he finally says they should head back down before her father gets worried. Yeo-wool: “Right…” Kang-chi: “So…” Yeo-wool: “So…”
He finally breaks free and starts walking ahead, and then suddenly turns back. Omo, your dad used that move. He marches back over to her…. and bends down to pick up her sword. Pffft.
Tae-seo wanders the courtyard of the Hundred Year Inn, wondering if he can really reclaim it one day, and start dreaming again. Seo-hwa watches from a distance, as her assistant Pil-mok tells her about Tae-seo.
(And since there seems to be some confusion in the threads—no, that’s not Lee Yeon-hee playing her. It’s Yoon Se-ah, and her character’s cover name is Ja Hong-myung, but I’m calling her Seo-hwa for simplicity’s sake.)
She says wistfully, “If he’s still alive, he’d be about that age…” It’s the first we’ve heard her mention her son.
On their way down the mountain, Yeo-wool struggles to walk on her twisted ankle, so Kang-chi stoops down to piggyback her. Oh, twisted ankles, where would dramaland romance be without you?
But she refuses, insisting that it’s no big deal. He gives her two options—ride piggyback of he’ll carry her—but she turns them both down, wide-eyed, and insists on hobbling on her own.
So Kang-chi stands up and scoops her up in his arms in one swift motion. “Carry it is.” Why so swoony?
He finally convinces her that he can carry her home without much trouble, so she relents with a “Thanks.” And so he carries her with a smile.
Those smiles quickly fade when they get closer to home, and suddenly Gon pops out with a handful of students behind him, on his way to find Yeo-wool. It’s not what it looks like! Gon just seethes silently and steps aside… because Master Dam is right behind him. Oh crap.
You are in so much trouble. Also, shouldn’t you put her down now?
When they get back, Master Dam rips Yeo-wool a new one for disobeying and running off into the woods, and reminds her that she’s engaged to Tae-seo now. She says he did that without even consulting her, and asks if all of it, including his coldness to Kang-chi, was because he killed his father.
Master Dam stops short, wondering how she knows about that, and she asks if it’s really true, hoping he’ll say she’s wrong. He only asks if Kang-chi knows (he doesn’t), and answers absently that it was a long time ago, refusing to tell her any more than that.
Flashback to her meeting with Wol-ryung, where he accuses her of being her father’s daughter and raising a sword to innocent people. She had argued that her father would never do such a thing, but he told her that Kang-chi’s father was pure and innocent.
Master Dam calls Gon in, and tells him that for the time being, they’ll have to split Yeo-wool and Kang-chi apart. So in the morning, Gon has to deliver the news to Yeo-wool that she’s been confined to her quarters, and if she steps one foot outside, the students will be punished in her place.
She asks after Kang-chi, who’s currently tiptoeing his way into the Hundred Year to see Tae-seo, dressed in all black in broad daylight. Well that’s just ballsy AND silly.
But Tae-seo can tell that something’s off about him, starting with the fact that he’s carrying a sword, and greets him warily. The stilted way “Kang-chi” asks leading questions ought to tip him off if the other clues didn’t, because he asks if Tae-seo really betrayed them and gave up Lee Soon-shin’s turtle ship designs.
Tae-seo plays along and says he’s doing everything for Chung-jo, and quotes an adage: “If you know your enemy and yourself…” and waits but Imposter Kang-chi doesn’t answer. Tae-seo finishes the adage: “every battle is won,” and then hurls a candlestick at Kang-chi’s head.
Tae-seo manages to keep his cover long enough for Jo Gwan-woong to be satisfied that he’s not a mole, and then his minion changes back to his true form. One point for the good guys.
So-jung wakes up to find Kang-chi sitting by his bedside and dozing off, and just sighs in frustration that he hasn’t run away yet. Kang-chi feeds him medicine and says he has no plans to run, instead thinking of ways to find Wol-ryung.
So-jung warns that he’ll die, and Kang-chi reminds him that he’s the one who told him he couldn’t die. So-jung changes the rules, because he can, and says that two supernatural beings can kill each other.
Kang-chi: “Then that means I can kill him.” So-jung doesn’t understand why he’d go looking for a fight when he should be running, and Kang-chi says, “He messed with something he shouldn’t mess with.”
Kang-chi says, “If you know your enemy and yourself…” and So-jung finishes the familiar adage: “every battle is won.” But Kang-chi says no, no it’s: “If I know you and me, we’ll either be enemies, or friends.” It’s that very thing that made Tae-seo sure it wasn’t really Kang-chi who came to see him.
When Kang-chi leaves So-jung’s house, Wol-ryung is watching, and he approaches. But something strange happens when they get close—Wol-ryung’s eyes glow red and suddenly vines start to grow around Kang-chi’s feet, trapping him there. Ooh do they each have a reaction to the other? It would make sense.
It’s weird because if it’s Kang-chi, why would he trap himself, and if it’s Wol-ryung… he shouldn’t really have power over living things anymore, right? The rules aren’t clear, but something funky is going on, and Wol-ryung is the first to run.
Kang-chi runs back to the school looking for Yeo-wool, and starts to tell Gon about the strange creepy vines, but just asks for Yeo-wool instead. She’s trapped of course, and today a teacher arrives to begin her new lessons. Yeo-wool looks at her warily, “What kind of lessons?”
The first? Sewing. Dude. Yeo-wool: “S-sewing?” Her teacher tells her she’ll have to change first and slams down a hanbok, and Yeo-wool busts out of there. She slams her hands down on her father’s desk, “Sewing? SEWING? Father, SEWING?!” Ha.
He tells her it’s time she prepared for her future wifely duties, but she shouts back, “You told me to never forget the weight of the sword! To learn the sword that protects people! You taught me that!” You tell ‘im!
But he doesn’t budge. “Live as a woman. Lay down the sword and find happiness as a wife. That is my will.” He starts to walk out thinking he’s had the final word, but she declares, “If it’s not with Kang-chi, I don’t want it!” Omo.
“If it’s not with Kang-chi, I don’t want to live as anything else.” He erupts, asking if she really thinks a father would give his daughter to a half-beast half-man, which isn’t even taking into account what Kang-chi will do when he finds out that her father killed his. What if he seeks revenge? “Please, don’t make your father spill innocent blood twice.”
Meanwhile, Kang-chi can’t believe Yeo-wool’s being quarantined, while Gon outright blames him for the problem in the first place and orders him to stay away. Kang-chi: “You can lock away a body, but not a heart!”
He tells them they might as well kick him out instead of trapping Yeo-wool, and Gon says he plans to do just that. He hands Kang-chi a belt with bells dangling from it, and orders him to wear it. Is this like putting a collar on Kitty?
As soon as he puts it on, Gon takes out his sword and cuts one bell off with scary precision. Is this a metaphor? Because if so, I think you should run, Kang-chi-ya. The little bell drops to the ground and Gon says there are nine left, so he’d be wise to keep them all. Hahaha, so Kitty has nine lives AND a bell on his collar?
Gon says the day he loses all nine bells, he’ll be kicked to the curb. Kang-chi demands to know what right he has to kick people out like he runs the joint, and Gon finally shows him the apricot blossom etched into his sword, making him one of the four Men of Honor, and one of the masters who decide whether Kang-chi stays or goes.
He runs to Teacher Gong to complain that Gon is in no way qualified to be someone so revered, but Teacher Gong says Gon is second only to Master Dam in sword skills and isn’t to be trifled with. Kang-chi still doesn’t think he’s a big deal, scoffing that for all that so-called skill, he chases Yeo-wool around like a lowly bodyguard.
Suddenly Gon appears behind him, out of nowhere, and slices another bell off. “That’s eight.” Hee. I do love how much he’s enjoying this. Kang-chi cries foul, but Teacher Gong points out that when there are no rules, there are no fouls. Truer words, friend. I’m pretty sure ones this writer lives by too.
And thus begins the hilarious chase. Gon the ninja bell assassin just pops out everywhere Kang-chi goes, slicing bell after bell. How’s he ever going to keep them all when you’re so sneaky?
Kang-chi gets pissed off enough to try fighting back, but Gon just mocks him and cuts off another bell, which already brings him down to five.
Yeo-wool sheds blood trying to learn how to sew, and slams the needle down in frustration declaring that this is impossible.
Without Yeo-wool to confide in, Kang-chi wanders out to test his vine-growing powers on his own. He stretches out his hand and commands the vine to grow, but nothing happens. He braces himself and takes off his bracelet, and tries again.
This time the vine grows, and he watches in wonder.
Wol-ryung is behind him watching the whole thing, and when he stretches his hand out, the tree near him begins to die. Huh, so was it Kang-chi alone powering the vines back in the woods earlier?
In town, our friendly neighborhood gangster Ma Bong-chul hears the rumor that Kang-chi is the son of a gumiho who was killed twenty years ago, and that he’s behind all the killings in the woods lately. He cries publicly that it’s a ridiculous lie, but worries that the rumor will catch up to him.
At the same time, officials arrive to tell Lee Soon-shin the same thing, and demand that Kang-chi be brought in for an examination to confirm that he’s human. Ruh-roh.
Kang-chi sneaks over to Yeo-wool’s window that night, and she pouts that this is no way to live, showing him her bandaged fingers. She says it would be better to be cut by a sword than pricked by a needle, but Kang-chi says at least she’s safe this way. “And not getting hurt because of me…”
He brings her a stem with leaves, and she wonders why he brought her shrubbery, but he tells her look more closely. And then he wills it to bloom, and it opens up a flower before her eyes. D’awwww. That is so cute.
She looks up in amazement and asks how he did it, and he laughs, “I don’t know.” He says he just told it to grow and it did, and holds the flower out for her to have.
She reaches out to take it, and their fingers touch. They just hold the flower like that, fingers touching for a long moment, and then finally Kang-chi lets go first. She thanks him for the flower and they smile adorably, and behind his back, we see that Kang-chi’s been holding his bracelet the whole time.
Chung-jo gets ready to leave the martial arts school, having come with Soo-ryun (she’s here to confer with the group on Lee Soon-shin and Kang-chi, but they have no answers).
Her servant asks if she got to see Tae-seo or Kang-chi, but she just turns away with tears in her eyes. And then we see that she did find Kang-chi, just as he was handing Yeo-wool a flower with a lovesick grin.
She returns to her room and throws Kang-chi’s medicine jar to the ground, smashing it into pieces.
Yeo-wool stares moony-eyed at her flower, but then is plagued by Wol-ryung and her father’s words—what if Kang-chi finds out the truth and seeks revenge? “What happens to us then?”
Meanwhile, Kang-chi thunders into the kitchen with his bag of beans, shouting, “I counted them! ALL!” He leaps as he calls out the exact number of beans, and Teacher Gong smiles back… and says he’s wrong. Ha.
Kang-chi just figures he missed one or two, but Teacher Gong keeps saying that he’s wrong. Kang-chi swears up and down that he counted till his eyes became beans, but Teacher Gong says emphatically that it doesn’t matter because that’s not the answer.
Kang-chi wonders if it’s a trick question that has no answer, but that’s not it either. He whines for a clue, and Teacher Gong sticks out his bamboo broom. “What is this?” Kang-chi answers that it’s a broom, and then Teacher orders him to grab it.
He can’t, of course, and Teacher asks why he can’t. Kang-chi thinks about it and says it’s because Teacher moves faster than he does. Teacher Gong: “Wrong. You only try to hold the broom, so you cannot hold the broom.” What…does that mean?
Kang-chi: “What does that mean?” Glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t know. Teacher Gong says it’s in the intrinsic nature of things, and leaves him scratching his head. He looks back at Kang-chi with a solemn expression on his face, and then we see that Master Dam had come up with a solution after all—to kill Kang-chi to save Lee Soon-shin.
Wol-ryung comes around again to spy on Kang-chi, and he can sense someone nearby. Kang-chi runs after him, and growls at the dark figure, with one glowing red eye.
Seo-hwa’s assistant approaches Tae-seo, and so he goes to see her that night. She asks if he’s curious about her, and she admits that she’s curious about him as well, and then takes off her hat and unveils herself for the first time.
The clouds part and the moon sheds light on Wol-ryung’s face, looking very much human. Kang-chi is taken aback, and asks, “Who are you?”
He finally speaks: “I am Gu Wol-ryung.”
I hope Wol-ryung and Kang-chi have a real conversation this time, or even a fight, because I’ve seen enough stalking and dancing now. It’s time for something to happen between these two, stat. It’s interesting that he chose to manipulate Yeo-wool and give her just enough of the truth to plague her with it, leaving out the part where he’s Kang-chi’s father and not quite so dead. (Though I do think it’s important to differentiate between Gumiho Wol-ryung and Demon Wol-ryung, which he does as well, speaking of his past self like a different person, someone who died.)
It was nice to have a little more insight into the way Yeo-wool sees her father as someone upright and blameless, only to have that image shatter just as she’s starting to diverge from the path he wants for her. I love that her arguments are always things he taught her—how to wield strength and power, how to protect the innocent—and that his only defense is to order her to do as he says, because he’s contradicting everything he’s taught her up till now. The whole sewing bit and the lessons on how to be a proper lady are great setups for Yeo-wool, because we get to see her choices and her motivations, which back up what we already know about her. She’s never not considered herself a woman, but there are things she sacrifices in order to carry the weight of the sword. I’m glad we’re seeing that motivation unfold and hope there’s a lot more where that came from, even if it means Dad has to play bad cop for a while longer.
I’m not the least bit concerned about revenge tearing them apart, but I am worried about these gumiho rumors running through town—there’s nothing like mass fear and panic to turn people against one another, and it’s going to make life far more dangerous for Kang-chi. I’ll give it to Jo Gwan-woong for knowing how to use that fear for his gain, because it seems like the perfect way to corner Lee Soon-shin. Let’s just hope Kang-chi is far enough along on his bracelet-free trials to endure a physical. That, or he could just bring Yeo-wool everywhere he goes from now until eternity. I don’t think they’d have a problem with that.
- Gu Family Book: Episode 14
- Gu Family Book: Episode 13
- Gu Family Book: Episode 12
- Gu Family Book: Episode 11
- Gu Family Book: Episode 10
- Gu Family Book: Episode 9
- Gu Family Book: Episode 8
- Gu Family Book: Episode 7
- Gu Family Book: Episode 6
- Gu Family Book: Episode 5
- Gu Family Book: Episode 4
- Gu Family Book: Episode 3
- Gu Family Book: Episode 2
- Gu Family Book: Episode 1